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Romaric P.
Romaric P.

Posted on • Originally published at qovery.com

Heroku vs AWS: What to choose as a Startup?

Cloud computing sometimes spoils one with choices. Let's just take a look at a couple of common cloud services. You can use cloud services to deploy and scale web and mobile apps besides monitoring them. AWS and Heroku provide cloud computing resources. AWS is from Amazon, while Heroku is from Salesforce. In this article, let us see which one is better to use from the start-up perspective.

What is Amazon Web Services (AWS)?

AWS logo

Amazon Web Services or AWS are cloud services that offer Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). Among the many services it provides, it includes management and analytics with data. AWS has a wide range of cloud services. Amazon Simple Storage (S3) and Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) are two popular and commonly used services. Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) is a web service that provides control of computing resources on Amazon's computing environment. Amazon S3 is object storage that's built to store and retrieve data from the web. It offers performance, durability, availability, security, and virtually unlimited scalability with economical costs. 

What is Heroku?

Heroku logo

Heroku is a cloud-based platform that offers Platform as a Service (PaaS). Heroku is based on AWS. 

However, its services are much simpler to use than the AWS Elastic Compute Cloud service. It is high on efficiency and support for building, deployment, and rapid scaling. One of its popularity is that it has add-on capabilities supporting multiple management tools and alerts. 

Heroku is known to speed up development cycles as the infrastructure part is fully-managed.

Let us explore the pros and cons of Heroku vs. AWS here.

Advantages of Heroku

Heroku is a PaaS solution and the key element is 'Dynos' which is a proprietary lightweight Linux container wherein all the app processes run. As a startup, you can focus on developing your app and deploy it to Heroku. Heroku automatically configures the required infrastructure and provisions resources like databases and storage for your app. There is no need to have a DevOps team in place, which is quite convenient for a startup with limited financial resources.

Heroku provides a great developer experience where your Git repository is your source of truth. Additionally, with Heroku, developers choose to build their apps in any language of their choice. They can speed up development with the help of Heroku add-ons. Some of the add-ons are free, while others are paid ones. Time savings and the simplicity of Heroku are significant advantages.

Heroku empowers developers with an entirely ready environment and app servers for use. The Heroku Command Line Interface (CLI) makes for easy management through the simple dashboard. It has easy and seamless integration with pre-existing development tools too.

Disadvantages of Heroku

Heroku charges based on the number of 'Dynos' and the size of the Dynos required. If you have a larger app then you will need to use more dynos. This can be an expensive proposition if your app is large and has lots of traffic as the cost of Dynos or dynos workers are in the range of 35$ per month. So from a development perspective, it is built for small development teams comprising five or lesser members.

Heroku does not support complex applications like Microservices. It is not suitable for complex projects that require plenty of cloud resources. Plus, it hardly scales your team’s needs.

Advantages of AWS

AWS provides flexibility and powerful infrastructure capabilities. AWS is best for complex solutions that require higher orchestration and maintenance when compared to Heroku. AWS supports complex applications like microservices easily. A DevOps team is needed to handle the complex management aspects of AWS, which leads to spending time on infrastructure management instead of product development.

The AWS with EC2 is suitable for running high-load applications that need immense computing power. AWS provides many automated functions like configuration and scaling among others. Deployments are fast with the ability to scale up infrastructure as per the needs of the project.

Disadvantages of AWS

AWS has too many options for services that it becomes confusing at times. It becomes challenging to make a choice quickly for a solution. Deployments in AWS may be far from a simple operation unlike the easy way that Heroku provides. 

The developers will have to undertake many of the AWS management functions though AWS is attempting to automate the processes. A DevOps team or resources are needed to handle deployment issues and infrastructure.

So what to choose as a startup?

There are a few factors to be considered when choosing between AWS and Heroku. If your startup is into small cloud apps, Heroku can be an excellent choice to start.

Heroku is the ideal solution for an individual or a small team, or small businesses. It makes life easier when deploying apps as it's pretty straightforward, and you need not be knowledgeable about how the infrastructure side is working. You do not need DevOps resources. Heroku is suitable for smaller cloud apps. Depending on your project, Heroku can be expensive if the app is intensive on traffic.

AWS is perfect for medium and large businesses. It should be chosen when one needs flexibility right from the initial application deployment. You will need DevOps resources to manage the infrastructure and involves additional costs. Setting up the desired infrastructure on AWS can take a few months as well. AWS has a stable ecosystem with services, tools, and apps for the cloud. 

Depending on the nature of your project and budget, you can make a suitable choice of Heroku or AWS for bringing your exciting products to the market. 

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Discussion (1)

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alexandersalves profile image
Alexander

And you can use dokku on an aws ec2 instance, to have a heroku like experience